by • May 30, 2012 • Leading, Leaders and Leadership, Life As I Know ItComments (2)1805

Destination Imagination

If I ever needed (yet another) reason why I do what I do, this was it. 

This past week, I was out in Knoxville, TN for the Destination Imagination 2012 Global Finals. I’ve been involved with Destination Imagination off and on since about the 6th grade, competing in competition a couple of times, being an appraiser at regional and provincial tournaments for over 6 years and, most recently, being invited to join the Ontario board of directors for Creative Programs of Ontario.

In a nutshell, Destination Imagination (DI) is an international creative problem solving competition, with teams from all over the world and at all age levels (elementary to university) designing & presenting solutions to challenges where they have to build, create, design, perform (or some combination of all of the above) a solution to a challenge. Even though Global Finals is over for this year, you can check out the previews for next year’s awesome challenges here.

In addition to these challenges (usually called Team or Central Challenges), I have the most fun (yes I’m biased) appraising the Instant Challenges. These short (sometimes no longer than 5 minutes) activities let teams’ creative, thinking on your feet skills shine. This year, I watched elementary teams from all over the world (U.S., Singapore, Mexico, Colombia, Guatamala, Turkey) showcase some amazing teamwork and problem solving, 5 minutes at a time.

In addition to allowing me to wear my choice of crazy headgear and relearn the art of the dance of the chicken, Destination Imagination is yet another extension of what we value and aspire to in student affairs. No matter their age, country of origin or MBTI score, these students demonstrate such a profound level of enthusiasm for and interest in creative problem solving. Whether building a structure or singing a song, the learning and development I’ve had the pleasure of witnessing is nothing short of astounding. It’s pretty darn awesome what can happen when you give these students some pipe cleaners, golf balls, a taped square on the floor, a few simple instructions and, most importantly, the space to create.

We’re always on the lookout for more students and teams to join in. There aren’t  nearly as many university level teams as I’d like to see in competition. Want to learn more? Comment below or tweet me


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2 Responses to Destination Imagination

  1. Tony Doody says:

    This post made me sooo happy! When I was in middle school, I took part in the regional, state and international “Olympics of the Mind” (changed to Odyssey of the Mind after Olympic lawsuit), It was one of the most enriching and impacting experiences of my childhood. Preparation for these events gave me lifelong skills on ideation, problem solving and working collaboratively as a team. Thanks for putting a smile on my face as I think back to the great memories.

  2. Joe Ginese says:

    So how do we make this happen more often and in more ways. Wouldn’t this be awesome to see at a huge higher-ed conference? I’d love to see how us “adults” would perform in a creative-problem solving contest.

    Perhaps Orlando needs an unsession that is an “Instant Challenge” ?

    You know where I’m going with this… 😉

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